Readers’ Forum May 10


The modern beard

The BYU Honor Code’s restriction of all facial hair other than mustaches is quite the controversial policy. As a senior at BYU who is going into a finance job in NYC, which is widely considered very conservative, I contest that this policy should be seriously reconsidered as the acceptability of cleanly trimmed beards is growing worldwide.

There are several examples of BYU’s Honor Code being altered to align with acceptable and harmless societal norms. For example, the Honor Code’s restriction on women wearing jeans was redacted in 1981. Was the restriction previously in place because of the evil nature of jeans or because jeans made women more promiscuous? Of course not! Likewise, are beards restricted because they are doctrinally impure or promote sinful actions? Those are both ridiculous notions.

Just as BYU was willing to accommodate to non-threatening, socially acceptable norms for women, they should be willing to do the same for men. When beards are kempt and well groomed, they can bring a sense of professionalism and maturity into the workplace. Do we not pursue these qualities at a competitive school like Brigham Young University?

Just as the choice was given to women in the 1980s to wear jeans, I believe that men should be allowed to choose what type of respectable grooming they prefer.

—  Jarret Brock

Kennesaw, Georgia

Women of BYU?

After walking up three flights of stairs in the Abraham Smoot Administration Building, students and faculty are greeted by a row of painted portraits in large, ornate frames featuring notable past presidents of BYU. In front of the frames, a window that overlooks campus streams light across their stoic faces, illuminating the legacies that they’ve left behind.

But where are the women of BYU? Where are their portraits?

Some of them can be found in the basement of the Wilkinson Center. Small photos placed in dusty frames with paper descriptions beginning to yellow from age and neglect. On the third floor of the same building, a dark hallway is lined with smaller, vignetted photos of former student beauty pageant queens, with no descriptions given of who they were or their academic accomplishments.

Granted, very few women have been hired into notable leadership positions at BYU (which is another problem in and of itself), but there have been remarkable women who attended the university or served in the LDS Church that have impacted the campus itself. With only scattered photos of beauty queens and pioneer women in forgotten hallways to represent the female population of students, there is hardly any proof of the female contributions that have taken place during the course of the school’s existence. Despite this, there have been women like Martha Hughes Cannon, Ellis Reynolds Shipp, Romania B. Pratt Penrose, and Jane Manning James, who influenced the world beyond this university even though many of their legacies have started to gather dust in the far-off corners of memory and the far-off corners of campus.

With almost half the student population at BYU being female, representation of both genders is critical in order for all students to reach their fullest potential. By equally illuminating the legacies of individuals from the past, the future legacies that will come from this university will burn even brighter than possible otherwise.

— Alyson Ludlow

South Jordan, Utah

We are the world

How often do you hear visitors complain that Provo is the most boring place in the world? With approximately 65 percent of the BYU’s population coming from out of state, we find that newcomers constantly complain about the culture of that is so prevalent in Provo.

Most frustrations mostly stem from either the lack of activities that typically exist in a college town or the stigma of the ‘Utah Mormon’ attitude and culture that exists. It is correct to assume that there aren’t too many places for college students to hang out after 9 p.m., and that it can be difficult to escape a culture shock that you put yourself into. However, with all of these complaints in mind, we must recognize that it is all of us that shape Provo through our various experiences and backgrounds.

Sure, there are places such as “Minivans Only” (parking spots) and the “Missionary Mall,” but isn’t this what our culture is centered on? Being in families and supporting others is part of who we are, and it is because of our diversity that we can find success here in Happy Valley.

Provo’s culture has become what we all make it to be, and that’s what makes it special. Our food is delicious, the local bands produce great music, and we are quickly becoming the next Silicon Valley. Let’s face it. Provo is one of the hottest places to be right now, so give it a chance.

— Kayla McWilliams

Riverside, California

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